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  • Cosmic Property Inspections

Common DIY Mistakes That Come Up during a Home Inspection

Home improvement projects can be a great way to add value to your home, but if not done correctly, they can also lead to significant issues during a home inspection. Here are some common DIY mistakes that could be called out during the inspection.


1. Electrical Work:

Electrical Panel

Improper wiring is a common DIY mistake that can significantly impact the safety of a home. Homeowners often use incorrect wire or breaker sizes, which can lead to overheating and fire hazards. Inadequate grounding is another issue, such as when two-prong outlets are replaced with three-prong outlets without proper grounding, creating a substantial safety risk. Poor workmanship, including unsecured wiring and improper connections, can result in shorts and other electrical issues. Overloading circuits by adding too many outlets or fixtures can also cause overheating and potential fire hazards. To ensure electrical projects are safe and code-compliant, all work should adhere to the National Electrical Code (NEC). Hiring a licensed electrician for complex jobs is the safest approach, and even for DIY projects, having a qualified electrical contractor review and verify the work can help catch mistakes and ensure safety.

2. Plumbing:

Leaking plumbing trap

Common plumbing mistakes can significantly impact a system’s ability to supply and remove wastewater from a building. Issues like poor PEX connections, improper soldering of joints, and poorly completed compression fittings can lead to leaks that damage interior surfaces and create an environment for microbial growth. Other frequent errors include improper traps under sinks, incorrect slopes of wastewater pipes, and inadequate venting, which can cause backups, poor drainage, and siphoning of traps, leading to loud gurgling and sewer gas buildup. Additionally, using incompatible materials for pipe connections can result in leaks and water damage. To ensure your plumbing work is effective and safe, familiarize yourself with local plumbing codes regarding pipe slope, venting, and materials, test all connections for leaks, ensure proper sealing, and use materials as intended.

3. Structural Changes:

Common mistakes are often observed when homeowners decide to remove structural elements like columns from the basement or garage. Although well-intentioned, this can significantly impact the building's structural integrity. Removing a column without proper assessment can lead to insufficient support for ceilings, sagging beams, and, in extreme cases, structural collapse. Similarly, if walls are to be removed, it is crucial to consult a structural engineer to ensure that load-bearing walls are not inadvertently taken out. The engineer can also provide guidance on installing additional headers and framing to maintain the structure's stability. Neglecting these precautions can compromise the safety and durability of the home. Proper planning and professional consultation are essential to avoid these potentially dangerous mistakes and ensure any modifications are safely executed.

4. Water Heater Installation:

Water Heater Exhaust Defect

It's more common than you might think for homeowners or “handy men” to improperly install water heaters, leading to several serious issues. Improper venting, including back drafting, poor exhaust connections, and incorrect plumbing supply connections, are frequent problems. Additionally, installing a Temperature Pressure Relief (TPR) Valve incorrectly is a notable mistake. These errors can allow carbon monoxide to enter the living space, cause leaking plumbing pipes, and even result in the water heater exploding if internal pressures aren't properly relieved if necessary. Gas connections can also leak, and improper electrical wiring can damage the heater's elements. To avoid these potentially safety risk situations, hire a licensed plumbing contractor for the installation. This ensures the correct tank is installed, the installation is done correctly, and the unit operates safely, protecting your home and family.

5. Roofing:

Roof bad

Roofing mistakes are often seen when homeowners undertake installation themselves, leading to common issues such as not replacing or improperly installing flashing, which can cause roof leaks. Roof flashings help direct water away from critical areas, ensuring the roof sheds water properly. Additionally, roof shingle manufacturers have specific installation requirements; failure to follow these can result in the warranty being voided. Proper ventilation is equally important for maintaining the attic space and prolonging the lifespan of asphalt shingles. Poor ventilation can accelerate the aging process of shingles, leading to premature wear and tear. It is recommended to have routine roof inspections to address any damage promptly and perform general maintenance. This not only ensures the roof's longevity but also maintains the home's overall integrity and safety. For these reasons, it is often best to hire a professional roofer to handle installations and repairs, ensuring all work meets industry standards and manufacturer's guidelines.

Wrapping up:

DIY home improvement projects can be rewarding and cost-effective, but they require careful planning and execution to ensure they meet building standards and inspection standards. For major projects it is suggested that building permits be pulled. These are on file for any potential buyers for the homes in the future and ensure updates have been done correctly. Avoiding these common mistakes can help ensure your projects are done correctly while adding value to your home. For any major projects or if you're unsure about the work, it's always best to consult with or hire a professional to ensure safety and compliance.

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